In brief, all interview videos require 3 steps:
- Plan questions
- Film the interview
- Choose parts.
Often our clients realise that upon starting the project, they find out that there are lots of variations and decisions for each step. To help you make the best decision in your interview projects, we share this step-by-step breakdown of what goes into the production of interview videos on how you can approach video interviews (with us).
To help you plan for your project needs, we typically ask the following questions:
About the project scope
“For your final video, how long would you or the viewers like the video to be?” This might help you determine the key topics to focus on, and the number of interviewees to involve.
Viewers watch interviews because they want to learn something from the interviewee. This should be something groundbreaking and insightful, and not already widely known. “What are 2-3 things viewers might find insightful or groundbreaking from the interviewee’s sharing?”
About the video style
- Interviews are done for corporate videos, commercials, and documentaries are different in the amount of authenticity, and degree of pre-approved content.
- Candid interviews are done when it is important to the viewers to see the organic reactions of the interviewee and feel the authenticity. Some amount of social engineering is important – to gauge the comfort level of the interviewee and build confidence that they will be respected during the process but not able to halt the production just to revise answers off-camera. When the candid interview is over, more time is spent on curating the responses of the interviewee on the cutting floor (during the editing process).
- Scripted interviews involve talking points or scripts that are read by the interviewees. This is usually recommended when it is necessary for the content to be determined and approved prior to the interview, or when there is not enough time for an unscripted interview. This can be done with the aid of a teleprompter, whereby the interviewees can simply read without having to memorise the script. We will focus on coaching the interviewee to sound authentic, natural and confident.
- Prompted Interviews mean the interviewer or director would influence the interviewee’s replies. We may ask leading questions, prime the interviewees, and coach them in their delivery, all with the intention of giving them a sense of autonomy yet mediating their replies. This is done if some amount of pre-approved content is needed, but the way the interviewee interprets or phrases their answers is essential to the interviewee (to feel that their opinions still belong to them) and viewers (to know that the replies are authentic), yet deliver on predicted answers that fit the programme.
- “Are you looking for candid replies, scripted ones or a prompted interview (50/50)?”
- “Do you want an interviewer in-frame or out-of-frame?” In-frame interviews may look like a talk show (side by side) or news interviews (facing each other), while out-of-frame interviews may involve the interviewee looking off-camera or directly at the lens/viewers. Both in- and out-of-frame styles can convey high levels of authenticity when done well, and so is a matter of your manpower and preferred style.
- “Are there any sample interviews that you like?” We can always follow a prevailing or preferred style so that it meets your expectations.
- “Are the interviewees confident about being before the camera?” For interviewees who may be camera shy, we often suggest they have a pre-interview to build rapport with the interviewer or to come early on production day so that we can provide some media training and learn interview skills.
About other project requirements:
- “Do you have a filming location in mind?” This will help us assess the suitability of the location and whether any adjustments need to be made so that the place is interview-ready (soundproofing, decluttering and space constraints). If a location is not available, we can source and suggest some according to the project budget. Certain public and private venues may need permits and management approvals so it might be wise to secure a few options in advance.
- “When do you need the final video or when would you like to film this?” The deadline helps us to work backwards and set milestones. If your deadline is tight, we will dedicate more resources to filming and editing the video quickly so as not to skimp on the number of revisions available for you. A typical 5 mins interview might take half a day of pre-production work, half a day of the shoot, 1-2 days to produce the first cut and more days for you to review and compile your revision requests. When the content has been decided, our editors might need up to a day or two to remaster the video so that it appears polished and well-produced. Planning ahead of time helps us give you the best work that your budget and effort should deserve.
Then we’ll provide you with a quotation.
With these details, we will be able to provide a quotation for your consideration. This quotation is open for discussion, and we can share ways to increase the production value or adjust to meet your budget.
When you are satisfied, you may engage us anytime.
We’ll start with the Project Management:
To meet your project deadlines, we will create a project timeline that identifies key milestones and target dates.
We will also secure the necessary manpower and logistics, such as makeup artists for subjects/talents, the crew, equipment, transportation, and props needed for the shoot, and editors for the editing period. To let the various parties know what time to turn up, how long the shoot will take, and what they need to prepare for, we will prepare a call sheet with all the necessary details too.
And start with the interview content:
Our director will research the interview/subject context, and create leading questions and talking points for the interviewer. When the client is agreeable to the talking points, we will organise them into a storyboard sequence. If we are involved in writing the script for the video, we will also do a pre-interview for the subjects.
If possible and necessary, we will also arrange a recce to understand the lighting, framing, logistical requirements and staging area for the filming location.
When most of the content has been planned, our editor will create a video mockup for the client to visualise the pace and scope of the planned script. To create this mockup, the Director of Photography (DOP) find photos to show how the subjects might be lit, appear on the frame, and graphics will appear. If background music is part of the video, our editor will shortlist some music samples for client consideration. The editor will also use AI to voice the talking points.
Thereafter, the script should be tightened and ready for production.
On the interview day,
On the production date, our crew would arrive much earlier than the interviewees. We will do our technical briefing and settle any onsite logistics (such as food and power), then set up the filming equipment. Getting the setup done before the interviewees arrive is important too because the interviewees might get anxious if they see the scale of the interview, and is safer for the parties involved since there will be plenty of moving parts and soon-to-be-taped wires on the floor.
When time the interviewees arrive, we will proceed with make-up, get them mic-ed up, and seat them at the filming area for blocking and rehearsal. When the interviewees and interviewers are ready, the first roll begins. Throughout the shoot, our director & videographers will facilitate to make the coach the interviewee on line delivery to them shine on screen.
End of shoot
- When the shoot has concluded, we’ll get signatures for the media disclosure, debrief our interviewees and wrap up
- Our crew will pack up and restore the shoot location to its original state
- We will also back up the data and show our clients the raw interview if they desire.
The first cut
At first glance, the interview cutting process might seem straightforward – except when the interviewee makes small mistakes, performs better in some parts than others, or if distractions (such as noise or background movements) occur during the shoot. Our editors will spend time choosing, fixing and putting together the clips so that the content flows as naturally as possible.
We believe in first-cut-best-cut; We look at the interview in its entirety, choose the best takes or combinations, and include interview content based on what you might want to show viewers. We also add in some lower thirds and supers for the first cut so that you get to see what the final video might look like.
During this process, our editors are very acquainted with the footage, so if you have any parts you might want to include, they will be able to advise if there is a better take or if it would fit with the existing sequence.
For each version, we will send you a frame.io review link, so that you can view the video online (without having to download the incomplete video). Using the review link, you can comment on changes required in each timeframe and work collaboratively with your team. We can also reply to you directly if you have any questions there.
Adding more supers and music
Supers, especially text, require a minimum duration for viewers to read. As such, they do affect the duration of clips they are applied on. In this process, we will add the desired graphics and make the adjustments needed after the content has been chosen so as to preserve the content integrity.
We will also remaster the music to fit the final length of the video.
When you are satisfied with the video, we transcribe the interviewee’s voice to text and add subtitles line by line.
Clients typically choose to either choose verbatim translations or amend the sentences. Changes to grammar and sentence structure of the dialogue and contextual information are added to improve the readability for viewers.
When you are satisfied with the video, we will export the final file according to your upload requirements. Typically, this involves a subtitled and a non-subtitled version. If you need the video in multiple aspect ratios, we will continue the production to adjust the placements of the supers and subtitles.